Robin Hammond—National Geographic
June 30, 2014 4:01 AM EDT

Features and Essays

Under pressure from liberals and libertarians that threatens to sink a judicial nomination, the Obama administration is moving closer to releasing to the public a classified legal justification for the use of drone strikes against Americans fighting for al Qaeda, administration officials tell TIME. David Barron, who previously worked at the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department, has seen his nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit stalled by an alliance of Senate liberals like Sen. Mark Udall ­and libertarian Sen. Rand Paul. Barron was the principal author of at least one memo that provided the legal basis for the extrajudicial killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen and senior figure in the terrorist group Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Last month the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Barron memo must be made public in response to lawsuits filed by The New York Times and the American Civil Liberties Union. The administration has 60 days to decide whether to appeal the ruling or release the document, a deadline which has sparked a vigorous debate inside the Obama administration. The U.S. intelligence community and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence want the administration not to release the memo. Also against release is DoJ's Office of Legal Counsel, which serves as the in-house legal experts on executive branch powers and which vigorously guards its opinions. On the other side are administration liberals, who make the case for releasing the document on the basis of increased transparency. They also argue that last year’s release of a DoJ report outlining the reasoning for the formal justification makes its continued classification irrelevant. "Whatever protection the legal analysis might once have had has been lost by virtue of public statements of public officials at the highest levels and official disclosure of the DOJ White Paper,” Judge Jon Newman wrote in the Second Circuit’s opinion, referring to the Justice Department report on the legal rationale for the administration's drone policy. The Solicitor General will nominally make the decision whether to ask the full bench of the appeals court or the Supreme Court to hear the case. But the White House is involved because Barron’s nomination may hang in the balance, and because other agencies, like the CIA, feel strongly about the issue. Last week the administration made the memo available to all senators in one of the Senate’s Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities in the Capitol. “The Administration has made available unredacted copies of all written legal advice issued by Mr. Barron regarding the potential use of lethal force against U.S. citizens in counterterrorism operations,” said White House spokesman Eric Schultz. But several lawmakers, including Sen. Paul, are demanding that a redacted version of the memo be made public, as ordered by the appellate court, before a vote on the nomination. “The decision to provide, at least to the full Senate, the drone memo is an indication of some folks in the administration leaning in favor of transparency,” said an administration official familiar with the internal debate. The debate whether to release the memo is a familiar one for President Barack Obama. In the opening months of his presidency he faced the decision whether to release the legal justification memos for the Bush-era enhanced interrogation techniques, the so-called “torture memos.” Obama’s intelligence team opposed releasing the memos, while liberals pushed for transparency. In a sign of the shifting political climate surrounding the fight against terrorists, the President's political advisors opposed the earlier memos' release, but now support making the drone memos public. For Obama, who has proclaimed his to be the "most transparent administration ever," the politics around the memo are fraught with pitfalls. If the president, a constitutional lawyer by training, decides to withhold the memo, it will be used a political cudgel by opponents of his drone policy, and it could all be for naught if the opinion is upheld. If he releases it, he will face criticism from some in his administration and from national security hawks. Sen. Paul has used the drone issue as a way to bolster his political fortunes after he filibustered the nomination of CIA Director John Brennan last year over the administration's initial unwillingness to rule out drone strikes on American soil.
Robin Hammond—National Geographic

Robin Hammond: The Next Breadbasket (National Geographic) Africa’s fertile farmland represents both challenge and opportunity | From the July issue of the National Geographic magazine

Rick Loomis: Weapons of War (Los Angeles Times) At a military base in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, a foreign peacekeeper unlocked a row of dusty storage containers to reveal a lethal armory. The weapons shown here are a small sampling of those seized from rival militias who have dragged the country into an ethnic and sectarian bloodbath

The Anti-Defamation League's first ever global survey of anti-Semitic attitudes has found that one-quarter of its survey's respondents, representing 4.1 billion adults around the world, harbor negative stereotypes about Jews. The ADL surveyed 53,100 adults in 102 countries, presenting them with a list of 11 Jewish stereotypes, ranging from fear of Jewish control over banks, media and world affairs to theories of group psychology. One in four adults responded "probably true" to at least 6 of the 11 stereotypes. ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said of the findings, "For the first time we have a real sense of how pervasive and persistent anti-Semitism is today around the world." The survey found widespread regional variations, with 74% of respondents in Middle East and North African countries agreeing with a majority of the stereotypes, compared with 19% of respondents in the Americas, and 14% in the islands of the Pacific Ocean (Oceania). Respondents often proved to be ignorant about Jewish culture and history. Nearly half had never heard of the Holocaust, and the trend was rising among young adults. But the surveyors highlighted one bright spot among the findings: more than a quarter of respondents did not assent to a single one of the stereotypical statements, slightly outnumbering those who had embraced them.  
Micah Albert

Micah Albert: Nowhere Land (Foreign Policy) After 40 years of fighting in the desert for their unrecognized country, the people of Western Sahara may be on the cusp of collapsing into extremism — and it could be the thing that saves them

Andrew McConnell: Syria’s Centenarians in Exile (The New Yorker’s Photo Booth) McConnell spent three months photographing centenarian refugees in Lebanon, the most popular destination for Syrians fleeing the conflict

Certain airlines are consistently good at getting you there on time; some yo-yo from year to year; and others—let’s just say there’s always room for improvement. To rank the carriers with the best and worst on-time arrival records, Travel + Leisure surveyed the results provided by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics for the 12-month period ending January 2014 (the most recent numbers available). FOR THE FULL LIST, CLICK HERE Altogether, the 16 airlines that report to the BTS combined for a 77.34 percent on-time average, slipping from 81.85 percent in 2012. The U.S. Department of Transportation defines “on time” as any flight that arrives within 15 minutes of schedule. MORE: Best Apps and Websites for Travelers MORE: 15 Tech Innovations That Will Change the Way You Travel
Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

Lynsey Addario: Rifts Among Shiites Further Threaten the Future of Iraq | Preparing to Fight ISIS (New York Times)

Tyler Hicks: New Fight on an Old Battleground (New York Times) Once a militant stronghold in Iraq, now a battleground again

Spencer Platt: Iraqi Crisis Takes Toll on Civilians (Wall Street Journal’s Photo Journal)

Bryan Denton: Displaced in Iraq (New York Times) A reignited war drives Iraqis out in huge numbers

The Normandy invasion of June 6, 1944, was so vast in scope -- and so punishingly effective in establishing an Allied beachhead on European soil -- that people sometimes forget just how long the war lasted, and how brutal it remained, in both Europe and the Pacific after D-Day. The successes at Omaha, Utah, Juno, Gold and Sword beaches remain, rightly, among the most celebrated military operations in history -- but for more than a year following those landings, the fighting went on, and on, and on in some of the war's most appalling battles and campaigns. Hundreds of thousands of Allied and Axis troops and untold thousands more civilian men, women and children died before Japan surrendered in September 1945, finally ending the war that for six years had reshaped the globe. This gallery features photographs -- some of them iconic, many of them little-known -- from Saipan, Bastogne, Iwo Jima, Berlin, Nagasaki: places where the war did not stop when Operation Overlord ended. [WATCH: 'Behind the Picture: Robert Capa's D-Day'] [time-brightcove videoid=3594889592001]
John Stanmeyer—National Geographic

John Stanmeyer: The Wells of Memory (National Geographic) One man’s walk around the world continues in Saudi Arabia | From the July issue of the National Geographic magazine

Tomas van Houtryve: Baku, Boomtown (VII) As a birthplace of the petroleum industry, Baku’s fortunes have long been linked with oil. The city was heavily polluted by Soviet-era production. Now a gush of oil profits is transforming the the urban landscape, as buildings with bold architecture replaces previously dingy neighborhoods

Ed Kashi: Unresolved Dreams (Telegraph) Azerbaijan per capita, has the highest number of refugees and internally displaced people of any country in the world today

Sven Zellner: The Changing Face of Mongolia (CNN Photo blog) A rush for natural resources like coal, gold and copper has filled pockets in Mongolia, one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. But the country is also facing rising inequalities, especially in its capital, Ulaanbaatar

Kevin Frayer: Welcome to China’s Evergrande, the World’s Biggest Soccer Academy ( It has 2,400 boarding students, dozens of pitches and the ambitious aim of transforming China into a global soccer powerhouse

Shin Woong-jae: Sickness at Samsung Plant (Washington Post) Samsung is South Korea’s greatest success, but controversy over sick workers clouds its reputation

John Vink: Cambodia: Migrant Exodus (Magnum Photos) Following the military coup in Thailand, nearly 200,000 Cambodian migrant workers have come back to their home country

A grizzled, battle-weary Marine peers over his shoulder during the final days of fighting on Saipan, July 1944.
Nick Oza—Arizona Republic

Nick Oza: Immigration (Arizona Republic) Oza’s 8-year documentary on immigration

Nicola Lo Calzo: Casta (New Yorker) Race, memory, and community in the Southern United States

Taylor Baucom: ‘Raising My Head High’: A 16-Year-Old With Quadriplegia Goes to Her Prom (LightBox) Ten years after a car accident that left her paralyzed and following years of uncertainty, 16-year-old Gena Buza attends her senior prom

Pete Marovich: Echoes of Africa Along the Carolina Coast (New York Times Lens blog) Marovich has been documenting the Gullah communities he first encountered as a teenager in South Carolina, which maintain traditions despite the challenges of encroaching development

Jonno Rattman: Mermaids on Parade (The New Yorker’s Photo Booth) Photographs from Coney Island Mermaid Parade

Ed Ou: Crimson on White: Hunting the Polar Bear ( Pictures of an Inuit polar bear hunt in Canada

Marines tend to wounded comrades during the battle to take Saipan from the Japanese, 1944.
Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

Meridith Kohut: Children’s Journey (New York Times) Wave of minors on their own rush to cross southwest U.S. border

Tommaso Protti: The dark side of Brazil’s Belo Monte dam (MSNBC) Brazil’s largest construction project poses a major humanitarian and environmental crisis

Mauricio Lima: Deep in the Amazon, an Isolated Village Tunes In to the World Cup (New York Times)

Russian soldiers and a civilian struggle to move a large bronze Nazi Party eagle that once loomed over a doorway of the Reich Chancellery, Berlin, 1945.
Alex Majoli—Magnum with the support of Save The Dream, Instituto Moreira Salles and ESPN

Alex Majoli: The World Cup as Seen from the Streets of Sao Paulo (Magnum Photos) Majoli has been documenting the streets of Sao Paulo during the World Cup

Tomas Munita: Echoes of War, 100 Years On (New York Times) Century-old World War I battlefields

Yusuf Sayman: Ukraine Now (Daily Beast)

Massimo Sestini—Polaris

Massimo Sestini: Boat Migrants Risk Everything for a New Life in Europe ( Sestini accompanied the Italian navy on its rescue missions earlier this month, offering a rare up-close glimpse of the men, women and children who make the dangerous trip to start a new life

Vasantha Yogananthan: French Summer Castles in the Sand (New York Times Lens blog) Every spring, French campers stake out a stretch of shoreline where they can still build makeshift beach houses that sustain a community of thousands through the summer


St. Lo, France, summer 1944.
AFP/Getty Images

What to do with horrific images from Iraq (AFP Correspondent) ISIS pictures clearly amount to extremist propaganda, so should they have been published? For AFP, the answer is yes — but not without first taking careful precautions to ensure they were not faked. AFP also avoided publishing those photos depicting gratuitous violence for its own sake

Iraq’s Current Conflict Foretold (New York Times Lens blog) As rebel forces capture Iraqi cities, veteran photojournalists Andrea Bruce, Stanley Greene, Kadir van Lohuizen, and Yuri Kozyrev, look at the lessons learned and the obstacles that lie ahead for independent coverage in the region

John Loengard on the Role of the Photo Editor (Nieman Reports) Loengard gives tips to new photo editors (and reminders to old-timers) from his perspective as both photographer and picture editors

Land mines: Explosive remnants of war (CNN) Photographers Brent Stirton, Veronique De Viguerie, Paula Bronstein, Marco di Lauro, and Sebastian Liste documented the land mines issue across five countries

Chloe Dewe Mathews’s Shot at Dawn: a moving photographic memorial (Guardian) During the first world war hundreds of soldiers, many of them teenage volunteers, were shot by firing squad for cowardice or desertion. Chloe Dewe Mathews’s photographs of the mostly forgotten sites of their execution provide a poignant memorial of their tragic fate

Jonas Bendiksen’s Still Films from Brazil (Magnum Photos) Small films that are photographed using a super-slowmotion camera, that can convert a second’s decisive moment into twenty seconds of video | More on his Instagram feed here

A crowd of jubilant French civilians and Allied troops celebrate the end of the war in Europe, Paris, May 8, 1945.
Alex Webb

In Kodak’s Hometown, Memory and History (New York Times Lens blog) Alex Webb and his wife, Rebecca Norris Webb, went to Rochester to document the fabled, if worn, home of Kodak. They returned to explore a city with a rich history and culture | Also on LightBox here

Vanessa Winship: the great, unsung chronicler of the world’s outsiders (Guardian) From Mississippi to the Black Sea, Winship’s poetic, masterful photographs show how hard it is for people to belong … so why don’t British galleries acknowledge her as this large Madrid retrospective does? She deserves it, says Guardian’s Sean O’Hagan

Daniel Arnold: Feeding New York (Nowness) Instant imaging from social media’s street-voyeur photographer

W. Eugene Smith—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Garry Winogrand Retrospective at the Met (Daily Beast) Also on the Guardian website here

Eugene Richards Receives 2014 Missouri Honor Medal (NPPA)

A New Kind of Explorer: The Photography Fellows (PROOF) David Guttenfelder, Lynn Johnson, Cory Richards, and Brian Skerry have been named as inaugural National Geographic Photography Fellows

News Photographer Magazine Launches Digital, Online Version (NPPA)

Lynsey Addario joins Reportage by Getty Images (LightBox)

George Silk—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

5 Documentaries About Photography Worth Watching (American Photo)

How to Make a Family Portrait (Medium) Photographer Matt Eich documented an unexpected pregnancy, and the life that came after

Taking Care of People and Pictures in Hong Kong (New York Times Lens blog) A Hong Kong nanny Xyza Cruz Bacani’s street photography

Interviews and Talks

U.S. Marines of the 28th Regiment, 5th Division, raise the American flag atop Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima, on Feb. 23, 1945.
Daniel Berehulak—The New York Times

Daniel Berehulak on Afghanistan, India and Pakistan (American Photo) Also on LightBox here

Karen Mullarkey ( Chat with Mullarkey who cut her chops at Life Magazine and later worked as Director of Photography at Rolling Stone, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated

James Estrin and David Gonzalez on the Lens blog (NPPA)

Picture Editor Mike Davis On Clarity of Voice in Today’s Media Landscape (Photo District News)

Susie Linfield ( Author of The Cruel Radiance: Photography and Political Violence

Robin Hammond: The Largest Trade “On The Hoof” (PROOF) As part of a story for National Geographic about agriculture in Africa appearing in the July issue, Hammond made a stop in Somaliland to learn more about how the region exports 1.3 million sheep and goats during the annual Hajj

Rafael Milach (Dazed Digital) Milach talks about his post-Soviet portraiture project in Belarus

Bruce Davidson (Telegraph) The American photographer Bruce Davidson tells about being ‘let loose’ in the UK in 1960

About A Photo with William Albert Allard (Think Tank Photo Vimeo)

American infantryman Terry Moore takes cover as incoming Japanese artillery fire explodes nearby during the fight to take Okinawa, May 1945.

Aidan Sullivan: A Day Without News? (TEDxAtlanta) Sullivan initiated the creation of A Day Without News to focus attention on, and take steps to address, the targeting of journalists in armed conflict

Zed Nelson (British Journal of Photography) Nelson’s documentary, Europe’s Immigration Disaster, looks at the 2013 Lampedusa migrant boat tragedy

5 Questions for Peter van Agtmael (APhotoADay)

David Gilkey (NPR) Gilkey went to Cuba and made images of the one thing his editors told him to avoid: cars

Susana Raab (Fusevisual) Interview with the Washington D.C. based photographer

Martin Schoeller and the Three-Legged Dog (PROOF) Schoeller on photographing a war dog for National Geographic’s June cover

Jonathan Torgovnik on his series ‘Girl Soldier’ (PROOF) Life after war in Sierra Leone

Q&A With Sebastian Meyer on working and living in Kurdistan (Roads and Kingdoms)

Ed Kashi (Telegraph) Kashi talks about photographing refugees in Azerbaijan

Melissa Golden (The Photo Brigade) Podcast with the Washington D.C. based photojournalist

Guillem Valle (Leica Camera blog)

Mikko Takkunen is an associate photo editor at Follow him on Twitter @photojournalism.

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